Sunday, April 14, 2013

Some Days All You Can Do is Try

Back in December I decided that one of the things I wanted to do this year, in order to strengthen our marriage, was to go on a monthly date. In January we went and saw The Hobbit, which was a fantastic movie. February rolled around and we never got around to having our date. I left it open, hoping he would initiate something, but it didn't work out. I was slightly disappointed, but I let it go. One bad month wasn't going to deter my plans. In March, I decided that our date would be bowling. We haven't been bowling in years and I thought it might be fun. March is a crazy month with the musical at the HS, and then we had Easter at the end, so it left the weekend before Easter for our date.

What we seem to be doing well this year, and even last, is having big, tear-filled, conversations that come at the end of a rather difficult stretch of days/weeks/months. As luck would have it, the days leading up to the weekend before Easter were less than ideal. The last thing I wanted to do was go on a date. In fact, I am pretty sure I went to bed early on Saturday, and then moved to the couch when he came to bed later on. On Sunday, sometime, we had one of those big conversations. I came to the realization that he is not going to change, no matter how much he says he is going to, or how much he wants to. He is who he is, and who he is is a "me centered, non-communicating" person. He doesn't call me when he is going to be late, even though I have been after him about it for almost 20 years (we started dating 20 years ago in June of 1993), because he doesn't think to. He only thinks of how it's going to affect him. He knows that I would like to spend time with him in the mornings, but he is not a morning person and he would rather sleep as late as he can, and get up with just enough time to get up, get ready, and leave. So he does. He doesn't talk to me more than superficial work related things, or stuff he reads about or hears on the news/radio. He doesn't share with me how he feels about things, what's bothering him, what hurts him, makes him happy, etc. Nothing. When I shared this during our conversation, and not for the first time, he said he doesn't feel like he has anything important to say. So I asked, "You would rather sit there, knowing that I would rather be having a conversation with you, and say nothing?" and he looked at me straight in the eye, and said, "Yes."

If  you've never heard of it, there is a great book called, "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman (that link has a quiz you can take..check it out it's cool). It basically says that we all have a way that we feel loved, and if our significant other isn't "speaking our language", there will be all sorts of conflict due to the fact that we won't feel loved. You shouldn't be surprised that my Love Language is Quality Time/Conversation. After he answered my question, I sat there for a few minutes, with tears rolling down my face, and thought about all that we had talked about. I thought about all that I had been thinking about for the week or two prior, which was a lot of what we talked about during our conversation, as I had been realizing it for a while. I told him that I had come to the realization that as much as he wanted to, he wasn't going to change, and while I was OK with that, he was going to have to give me time to learn to live with it. He was going to have to be patient with me, as it wasn't going to be easy, and recognize that sometimes I wasn't going to be able to deal with it very well. It wasn't an easy realization to come to, but it was either that, or I had to let him go. 

It has not been easy. I have to take each day one at a time. Every day I have to try to focus on what is good, and what is working well in our marriage and not focus on what is missing. Each day I have to try to remember to appreciate him for the things that he does, and try  not to think about what could be going better. I have to not look back, because that is not where we are going. I say try, because it's not easy, and I don't always succeed. I apologize for my own failings, because I have many, and every day we start over. Sometimes, like this weekend, the lines of communication get broken, even from 1,000 miles away, and everything falls apart again. The hurt, it seems, is still very close to the surface, and sometimes that part of me that so desperately NEEDS someone to talk to feels a little like she is drowning. But I know, that if we keep trying, we will make it. 

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